The Solar Tower, an Ambitious (but 100% green) Project

A huge 1-kilometer-high thermal power station is planned to be built in Australia called the Solar Tower. Planned for several years now, the 3,280-foot Solar Tower is one of the most ambitious alternative energy projects on the planet: a renewable energy plant that pumps out the same power as a small reactor but is totally safe. If built, it will be nearly double the height of the world’s tallest structure, the CN Tower in Canada.

The Solar Tower is hollow in the middle like a chimney. At its base is a solar collector — a 25,000-acre, transparent circular skirt. The air under the collector is heated by the sun and funneled up the chimney by convection — hot air rises. As it rises, the air accelerates to 35 mph, driving 32 wind turbines inside the tower, which generate electricity much like conventional wind farms.

But the Solar Tower has a major advantage over wind farms and solar generators: It can operate with no wind, and 24 hours a day. Thanks to banks of solar cells, the tower stores heat during the day, allowing it to produce electricity continuously.

How To Turn Unwanted Sunlight Into Energy

If architect Sheila Kennedy gets her way, textiles will soon be able to take the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity. Kennedy is an expert in the integration of solar cell technology in architecture. And, her team from KVA Matx has designed the Soft House, a structure that can create close to 16,000 watt-hours of electricity by transforming household curtains into flexible, semi-transparent, solar collectors.

Textiles have been a fixture of architecture and design for their ability to define and modify a space. For Sheila Kennedy, textiles are just another material from which energy can be generated. The thin-film photovoltaic textiles are essentially solar panels created from organic photovoltaics. While not as efficient as the silicon based type, they are able to be molded and modified without any manufacturing process.

The Soft House has gone through a number of prototypes, but don’t expect to see it anytime soon. The cost of the solar textiles would, at current, make it cost prohibitive. However, Kennedy’s work on this project shows that renewable energy technologies can be easily integrated into designs in ways that had never been thought of before. Kennedy’s own words best describe our thoughts on the Soft House: “Never underestimate the power of the architectural imagination.”

Dell's Mini Inspiron Laptop Got a Name

That upcoming mini laptop from Dell just got a name. Engadget's Dell source coughed up the info that the mini notebook will be called the Dell E which is an 8.9-inch competitor to the similarly named Asus Eee. Then there's the E Slim, which is a 12.1-inch screen, 0.8-inch thick competitor to the MacBook Air and Lenovo X300. Dell's further segmenting the notebook with E Classic, E Video and E Video+, which has more RAM, flash storage, webcam and Bluetooth. E Slim will get WiMax shortly after its original release date as well. The smaller Dell E looks to start at $299 in August, whereas the E Slim still has no price, but is supposed to hit August-September.

Powered by Blogger